Whole Roasted Cauliflower Enrobed in Spicy Yogurt Dressing

 

This is a delicious way to serve a whole roasted cauliflower. Instead of drying out in the oven, the spicy yogurt dressing serve as a marinade and a tasty barrier holding all the yummy juices inside.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower Enrobed in Spicy Yogurt Dressing

Whole Roasted Cauliflower Enrobed in Spicy Yogurt Dressing

The yogurt dressing will turn golden brown when the cauliflower is done. Pierce carefully with a slim knife to test for tenderness all the way through.

Do not over-cook, you don’t want the vegetable to fall apart and be mushy.

Each head of cauliflower will serve 4 people generously, 6-8 as a side dish.

This would make a fun “roast replacement” for any vegetarian (not vegan due to the yogurt) meal.

Plated roasted cauliflower

Plated roasted cauliflower

Here’s what you need:

Whole Roasted Cauliflower Enrobed in Spicy Yogurt Dressing

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower
2 cups plain Greek yogurt (or drain plain yogurt so it is nice and thick.)
Zest and juice from 1 lime, more if your taste prefers
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Very Tasty!

Very Tasty!

Trim the base of the cauliflower to remove any green leaves; trim so it sits flat.

In a medium bowl, combine yogurt with the lime zest and juice, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.

Spread the mixture all over the cauliflower; use a brush or your hands to smear the marinade evenly over the surface. Save any extra for serving later.

Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 40-45 minutes in a 400°F. The surface will be dry and lightly browned. The marinade will make a crust on the surface of the cauliflower.

Place the cauliflower on the serving platter and cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Slice the cauliflower into wedges and serve with a fresh green salad.Whole Roasted Cauliflower Enrobed in Spicy Yogurt Dressing

Serve any extra yogurt marinade on the side of the roasted cauliflower; add good quality bread and you’ve quite a meal.

Try this for Meatless Monday!

#wholeroastedcauliflower #roastedvegetables #cookingvegetables #cauliflower #meatlessmeals #meatlessMonday #vegeterianmaindish

Pumpkin Snicker-doodles

Pumpkin Snicker-doodles are delightful. Full of rich Autumnal flavors, they are sure to please your sweet tooth craving.

Yum! Cookies!

I made last year and sent some down to Tyler. I had my culinary students make them to share with the local Ronald McDonald House, and now my son wants the recipe again. He had several friends last year who were going to another friends home for Thanksgiving and they wanted to take these pumpkin cookies.

So somehow they found a kitchen to bake in. We had an afternoon of “cooking by text” with successful results. Hopefully they had enough to take to their hostess.

This year he and his girlfriend are in apartments and have their own kitchens. They are going to cook for each other this year. I am publishing the recipe for Pumpkin Snicker-doodles, along with the method and photos so one of them can make the cookies again.

So, you don’t like pumpkin? Substitute mashed banana instead of pumpkin.

This recipe makes a lot of cookies so you may want to cut the recipe in half or just share!

Here are some reasons you should make these this afternoon:

  • They are easy
  • They taste great
  • They look impressive
  • The recipe makes a lot of cookies so there is plenty to share
  • Your house will smell wonderful all afternoon
  • You can freeze some dough to bake later
  • It’s another Pumpkin thing!
  • Fall is in the air

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

  • Servings: A lot of small cookies! About 6 dozen
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: moderate to easy
  • Print

  • 1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3  large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 cups AP flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. salt

For rolling dough balls in before baking:

  • 1 cup white sugar mixed
  • 1 ½  tsp. cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl beat butter, both sugars, eggs, pumpkin puree, and vanilla on medium until butter is evenly incorporated into pumpkin.

In another bowl combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and spices.

Fully Mixed Dough, Chill for at least 1 hour

Roll balls of the chilled dough in cinnamon sugar

Space the cookies 2″ apart on a lined sheet pan. Use parchment paper if you don’t have a silpat sheet. Flatten slightly with your fingers.

Beat dry ingredients into wet until it is all mixed in.  The dough will be fluffy but very sticky.

Cover and chill for at least an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 375°.

Using a cookie scoop or two spoons  form golf-ball sized balls with the chilled dough.

Roll balls in cinnamon sugar.

Place 2” apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Flatten slightly with fingers, but not too much.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the tops are crackled and the edges are light golden brown.

Let cool for a couple of minutes on the baking sheet before removing to cooling sheets.

Cool cookies on a wire rack before drizzling with icing sugar.

To make icing sugar, combine 10x powdered sugar with a small bit of milk and a few drops of vanilla. Add the liquid a few drops at a time as the sugar will reach drizzling consistency quickly. Us a fork to drizzle, allow to dry before stacking cookies.

Eat and be happy!

Pumpkin Snicker doodles

 

Questioning the Ethics of Farmers Markets

Is everything you buy from the farmers market from a local farm? If you think so, I hate to tell you, but in some cases,  you would be wrong.

As with every industry, business and activity, there are those who will jump on an opportunity for a quick buck.

Got to be NC Agriculture

Got to be NC Agriculture

There are ethical markets that vet their vendors to prove the products they are selling are indeed from the local area. Locally, the Matthews Farmers Market, Atherton Mills Market and Yorkmont Markets are truly farmers markets. Then there are others.

It really irks me when I see opportunists take advantage of trusting customers. Our local Farmers Markets  sell produce, hoop cheese and country ham; primary season is from April through October 31; adding pumpkins and squashes as the season comes to a close. The markets are extremely busy.

Ask about how the animals are raised

Ask about how the animals are raised

People buy there thinking they are in some manner, doing better for their families, communities and supporting farmers.

I remember when Robert used to tell me of the farmers market on the corner near his house. I lived in the mountains of North Carolina at the time and walking to a weekly farmers market painted romantic dreams of urban living.

There is a corner market nearby that I have been observing for years. It is a family run business, they own a nice block or two of land in what would be considered “prime commercial real estate” for mid-town Charlotte.

On market days, there are often traffic jams which require hiring off-duty police to direct traffic. People pile in and load up their baskets with whatever produce they find; feeling good about feeding their families on fresh “farmers market” foods.

They don’t ask questions, they just flock in and buy.

Vegetables at the marketEarly in the morning, restaurants show up at the market to buy the produce at wholesale prices. In turn, the restaurants go back and advertise on their menu’s that they offer “local vegetables bought from the farmers market.”

The biggest buzzwords in food lately are “local, sustainable and organic.” Claim that and you gain an easy audience in your marketing; your marketing image leans towards a caring business who supports the local community.

However, the public is being duped.

People don’t ask questions!

On my visits to the market, I noticed they would have the same bagged greens that we could buy in the grocery store.

Locally grown? Chiquita, really? Mangoes? Pineapples?

Locally grown? Chiquita, really? Mangoes? Pineapples?

I noticed they always had corn. Always have corn, from April through the end of November. And the corn has a sign on it, written with highlighter, “Non-GMO.” Somehow I don’t believe it. I’d like to ask for proof.

What really caught my attention and lit my fire was the last time I was there. Each check out station was surrounded by pulp baskets of strawberries with signs on them declaring “Sweet Strawberries $3.99 qt.”

Being July and knowing it is well past strawberry season here, I asked:

Commercially grown strawberries dressed up to look like farm-fresh. These "local" berries are from California and sometimes Driscolls grows in Mexico too.

Commercially grown strawberries dressed up to look like farm-fresh. These “local” berries are from California and sometimes Driscoll’s grows in Mexico too.

“Where the berries were from?”

“California. . .”

“Are they organic?”

“No, they are Driscoll’s.”

This makes them no different from what you buy in the grocery store! Driscoll’s just happens to be a huge mono-culture farmer of commercial berries.

Commercially grown strawberries are sprayed and hold residue of many different chemicals. Here is an in-depth article you can read here:

Pesticides are a Danger to Health and the Environment – Choose Organic!

The article will tell you about the research and how dangerous chemicals are being used on commercially grown strawberries and other produce and best of all, what you can do about it!

So when people buy the berries from this market, they are not getting an organic berry but commercially grown berries instead. The berries are packaged to look like farm fresh; the hand written signs are casual and fit the marketing image.

Muscadine grapes

Muscadine grapes

I looked around and saw shoppers scarfing up the berries and other produce thinking they are in some way or another doing good because they are buying their food from the farmers market.

The problem is, they are buying the same as they would get from the grocery without it being disclosed! They are buying the same stuff commercial restaurants buy from commercial broadband vendors and smaller vendors like Restaurant Depot.

 The are buying the commercially grown food they are trying to avoid by shopping at the farmers market in the first place.

This is the kind of food we try to avoid for better health.

I think all markets should be required have signage on every product that says where it was grown and by whom. All items should be labeled how it was grown and be able to provide the paperwork to prove it, if asked.

Full Disclosure!

Let us have the right to make a choice and they should be prepared to provide the proof. I’ve lost my trust in our corner farmers market. They may have a few farmers but I don’t believe their corn in Non-GMO, I don’t believe their claims. Broccoli is not coming out of any local garden at this time of year, yet they have a table full of it.

The public needs to be aware of this practice so they can actually support the real farmers; go to a real market.

At this time of year, you won’t see any strawberries because they aren’t in season.

California has passed a bill to crack down on Farmers Market Fraud. See the article below for information.

 http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2014/08/27/california-legislature-passes-bill-to-crack-down-on-farmers-market-fraud/

In the meantime, when you go to a market, ask questions. If they can’t or won’t tell you, don’t buy it! They are probably a commercial enterprise posing as a farmers market for easy money.October 15, 2011 farmers market 021

Here are some easy questions to ask:

  • “Where are these (insert whatever fruit or vegetable) from?”
  • “Are they organically grown?”
  • “Does the farm have a website?” Then use your phone and look them up. You’ll know if it is a commercial farm or a local farm.
  • “Why do you have broccoli in August? Where is it being grown? and how far did it travel to come to be here?” [To people wanting to reduce their carbon footprint, this matters!]

The Farmers Market industry currently has few regulations. Some require you to apply and be approved before you can sell there. They actually verify you are truly a local food producer.

However, if you own a few acres of vacant land, you can throw up some awnings, spread tables with produce you bought at the broad distributor food service uses, invite a few folks to sell grass-fed beef, home-made cakes, pies, flowers, and you too can be in the Farmers Market business as long as you have a business license.

I think this is scandalous and it really makes me quite angry.

Don’t Assume!

We’ve all got brains in our heads, it’s time to put them to use. This is something everyone who goes to a farmers market should be aware of.

Do some research, find out what kind of farmers market you patronize.

Be sure you are actually getting what you think you are getting. Ask a few questions. The answers may surprise you.

Don’t be duped!

#eatfresh #farmersmarkets #ethicalfarmersmarkets #Knowyourfood #wheredoesyourfoodcomefrom #eatwell #freshfood #fruit

#vegetables #freshproduce #healthyfood

Support your Local Farmer!

Support your Local Farmer!

Eat Fresh – What’s in Season NOW! September

Here is a quick run down on Eating Fresh – What’s in season now, September 2014.

Every where you look, people are trying to eat better.

To be an educated eater, you need to be aware or what fresh #fruitsandvegetables are available according to season.
Simply going to the grocery store or that busy farmers market on the corner isn’t a good way to determine what is in season. Food gets shipped in from all over the world so the availability seems season-less.

Eggplant and Okra

Eggplant and Okra

Knowing what is in season and that winter would be the “bleakest” food season; you can prepare and plan to have a pantry full of amazing things. But that’s another discussion.

Summer is winding down, days are getting shorter. Tomatoes are in full swing, melons are ripening on the vines.
Okra is growing over your head the plants have become so tall!

Here's what you can buy fresh from the garden in September:

Click on the hyperlinks to get fun, interesting ideas and recipes.

  • Apples- are coming in, crisp and fresh! Look for more varieties in the market as fall progresses.

    Apples on display

    Apples on display

  • Blackberries- soon to be gone! Make some Blackberry Sage Jam for a cold winter morning.
  • Cabbage – a good winter staple
  • Cherry Tomatoes – great for salads, snacking, roasting or sauté – abundant now through first frost
  • Collards – Simply an amazing green to simmer and eat with beans and cornbread, ’nuff said! Don’t forget the hot pepper vinegar!
  • Cucumbers- until first frost, time to make some pickles. Here’s a primer to get you going.
  • Figs-  get them quick! They are almost gone. Fig and lemon jam will capture their essence, or simply do whole figs in syrup. Wrap them in prosciutto. . .
  • Green Onions I find they winter ok if you grow them yourself. For fun, try sprouting the root end again by putting it is a small glass of water, it grows!
  • Greens- Easily available, get baby varieties to eat raw
  • Herbs- easily available in most varieties. Mint may be dying back, Basil is trying to seed. Freeze fresh herbs in ice-cube trays for winter use.
  • Indian Corn- begins to hit the market through October
  • Muscadine Grapes- Short season, all-time favorite regional treat. Freeze some for Halloween, use them as ‘eyeballs’ in the punchbowl or drinks.
  • Mushrooms- Late summer varieties rich flavors!
  • Mustard Greens- start coming in mid-September. Try some for a spicy different taste.
  • Peaches- leaving the market soon. Get your fill now! Make some fresh peach ice cream this weekend and serve it over warm peach cobbler or pie.
  • Peanuts- a year round favorite, raw, roasted or boiled.
  • Pears- the best pears are just starting to show up. Pears will only be here a short while, through October.
  • Persimmons- tricky to get just right, those who do love them!
  • Pumpkins- YAY! I adore pumpkins, eating and decorating and carving, flesh seeds and all! (Check out the links! You’ll have fun, promise!)
  • Raspberries- Almost gone until next year. Freeze some.
  • Snap Beans- Coming to an end of the season. I adore green beans and freeze some for winter. I think canning them makes them to soggy.
  • Yellow Squash- I know some aren’t sorry to see these go. Still available through mid October.
  • Sweet Corn- the symbol of summer, gone by the middle of the month. If you haven’t yet, grill you some corn on the cob for dinner.
  • Sweet Potatoes- Available year round although some specialty varieties come and go. I adore the garnet type from mid summer.
  • Tomatoes and Tomatillos- Through first frost. Be sure to get the green ones at the end of season to make chow-chow!
  • Watermelon- Another summer classic about to depart as fall descends.
  • Zucchini- only through the end of September. Shred some and make some Brownies!

I hope this helps. If you’re at the market and see things that really don’t seem right, like strawberries in September, ask where they came from and how they were grown. Leave them behind if you don’t like the answer.

Use your dollar to vote for better food and health with every purchase you make.

How do you eat, do you follow seasons? Buy Local? Please comment below and tell us how you plan your meals.

The What to Eat Now – October will be out soon. Subscribe to Spoon Feast so you are sure to get it! Use the subscription button on the right.

Massaged Kale Salad

Massaged Kale Salad

#eatfresh #seasonaleating #localfood #fruitsandvegetables #foodinseason #supportfarmers #eatlocal #seasonalfood

 

Happy Bees

I’ve never seen bees do this before!

While working in the garden this morning and I kept hearing a loud buzzing. When I looked for the source, I noticed there was a Magnolia flower that had bloomed at dawn and had dropped some luscious stamens on its outstretched petals.

Bees doing a Happy Dance!

Bees doing a Happy Dance!

The bees found the stamens and seemed to be quite happy, playing and rolling around. I’ve never seen bees this happy!

 

 

Zucchini Brownies, Just try it!

Zucchini Brownies are a great way of adding vegetables to your families diet. Unless you tell them zucchini is in the mix, they simply won’t know. The secret here is to finely shred the zucchini so it ‘melts’ while baking. You can’t expect it to be undetectable if you put big chunks in the mix.

This is a great way to get some vegetables into your meat and potato family members.

This recipe follows the formula of replacing the fat in the recipe with vegetables. The shredded zucchini adds the required moisture that creates the most gooey, fudgy brownies; you won’t believe they are full of zucchini.

I’m looking forward to trying zucchini in other baked goods to see how it goes. I imagine a carrot zucchini cake?

Try the recipe and let me know what you think!

 

Zucchini Brownies

  • Servings: 9-12
  • Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Zucchini BrowniesZucchini Brownies

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Butter a 9 x 9 baking dish.

Combine sugars, egg and vanilla in a mixing bowl on medium speed.

Fold in zucchini.

Shred Zucchini

Shred Zucchini

Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

Add flour mixture to zucchini mixture on low-speed, mixing only long enough to combine the ingredients.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish, smoothing it evenly in the dish.

All mixed together with the Shredded Zucchini

All mixed together with the Shredded Zucchini

Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes. Remove the brownies from the oven and cool on a rack.

Cut and remove from pan after the brownies have cooled to room temperature.

Zucchini brownies

Hot and Spicy Chicken

So here is a recipe for a hot and spicy chicken from Paul Prudhomme. He calls it “Frontier Chicken”; I call it delicious!

The flavor resembles Chicken Creole and will leave you smacking your lips because it is so good.

Hot and Spicy Chicken!

Hot and Spicy Chicken!

I left out the jalapeno because I thought it had enough spicy heat, but if you can tolerate them, add them in. We served sliced jalapeno on the side.

There’s one element that will surprise you.

Banana! Don’t leave it out! It makes for such a delightful complex surprise when you’re eating and there’s that bite. . .

Paul Prudhomme's Frontier Chicken

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Seasoning Mix

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek (I left it out because I couldn’t find it)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Combine everything into a small bowl; set aside while your prepare the rest of the dish

For the chicken and the rest of the dish:

  • 6 (4-6 ounce) chicken breasts or 1 cut-up 8 piece chicken or 8-12 chicken thighs, bone in
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups of chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped red peppers
  • 1 cup chopped green peppers
  • 1 cup chopped yellow peppers
  • 1 large ripe banana, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 fresh jalapeno, chopped (remove seeds and robs for milder heat; wear gloves to protect hands)
  • 1 14 ½ ounce can diced tomatoes

Sprinkle each side of the chicken breasts with ½ teaspoon of the spice mixture. Be sure to massage it in well.

Heat oil in a large skillet or 5-quart pot, add the chicken to brown each side, typically 2-3 minutes on each side; remove from pan.

Brown the seasoned chicken on both sides

Brown the seasoned chicken on both sides

(Notice the color of the oil! A great golden brown from the turmeric, it’s quite dramatic!)

If you notice the chicken or the pan is starting to burn, turn the heat down.

Once the chicken is removed from the skillet, place it in the oven to keep warm. It will finish cooking later.

Add 1 cup of the onions, only half of each of the chopped peppers (not jalapeno) and the banana and the remaining seasoning mix to the pan. Cook; stirring occasionally and scraping the pan for about 10 minutes. IF anything starts to get too brown, add chicken stop to loosen everything from the bottom of the pan.

Add garlic, ginger and flour, stir until the flour is absorbed; add the remaining peppers, onions, cilantro and jalapeño.

Cook for 5 minutes, add the tomatoes and remaining stock. Bring to a boil.

Add the chicken and any juices that may have accumulated to the pan, reduce to low and simmer about 10 minutes more until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve hot over steamed brown rice; add a crisp, crunchy salad that includes cucumber to cool the mouth down!

The heat is coming from several sources: cayenne, cumin, and ginger, dry mustard, chili powder, and jalapeno.

Adjust any one of these to cool it down if it gets too hot for your taste. I just left out the jalapeno for us and served them on the side.

Hot and Spicy Chicken!

Hot and Spicy Chicken!